Maine Pro Musica, a Maine community orchestra founded by its conductor and music director, Janna Hymes, has received a grant of $7,500 from the Maine Community Foundation to support Maine Pro Musica’s “Waterways” initiative.

“Waterways” will ultimately become a multi-media orchestra piece to capture the history and folkways of Maine’s relationship to water: to the coastal enterprises; to the inland woods and rivers; and to the future of wind and wave power.

This initial funding is to be used for the research and development phase of the project and will include training for the artists and community participants to help them find the history, the community water-based enterprises and the transitions taking place as new ideas and potential developments expand across the state.

Training will be led by composer David Crowe and writer/educator Susan Miville of ArtsEngage, based in Charlotte, N.C. Crowe and Miville have extensive experience with these kinds of community projects, having recently completed an award-winning creation based on the ebb and flow of the North Carolina mills and textile industry.

Miville noted that music and art belong to the communities where it is often created but not recognized.

“‘Waterways’ will give us the opportunity to work with Maine communities to build a piece of music and other media that will reflect what Maine is all about. We are looking forward to getting started,” she said.

Hymes is very excited about the grant and said this project is designed to illustrate a very important part of Maine’s history through music specifically composed for Maine Pro Musica. Students of all ages will experience and benefit from a multi-media event, with the orchestra as its axis.

“It will give us the opportunity to share the magic of music throughout the state,” she said.

As the Maine’s newest professional orchestra, Maine Pro Musica, which got its start in 2008, looks to expand the number of its concerts from three to four a year to seven or eight. Its mission, in addition to education, is to reach a diverse audience of all ages. Concerts to date have been concentrated in the Rockport/Camden/Lincolnville area, where Hymes lives, an area already rich with a wonderful musical tradition.

“Our hope now is to be able to expand our concerts up and down the coast and into the heart of the state, perhaps to some who may be hearing an orchestra for the first time,” Hymes said.

Maine Pro Musica musicians live all over Maine and share a true commitment to sharing great music.

“They are an incredible group of professionals with great ideas and attitude. What started as a dream has surpassed what any of us thought possible,” said Hymes.

For more information about the MPM and Hymes, visit mainepromusica.org and jannahymes.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.